Flat White

Pru Goward and the road to Wigan Pier

21 October 2021

2:00 PM

21 October 2021

2:00 PM

Has there ever been a more pathetic display of bile-reeking, attention-seeking, virtue-signalling conspicuous compassion from the woke and the wonderful than their attack on Pru Goward for her Financial Review piece on the power and potential of our underclass yesterday?

“Orwell was right,” Goward wrote. “The underclass can smell a fake at 50 paces, distrusts conceptual rhetoric and cannot speak a word of Newspeak, the language of lies made famous in Orwell’s 1984. They know what they want and see no reason why they should take notice of some man or woman in a suit when they get in their way.”

No wonder the woke were so upset. Goward suggested that our underclass are capable of thinking for themselves. That’s an abhorrent suggestion to the good and the great.

The woke and the wonderful, the good and the great, you see, are so important because they’ve made the poor their pets. They’re like Humpty Dumpty in Alice reaching down from the top of their walls to extend one figure as a greeting (a parody of a particularly patronising piece of  Victorian snobbery where members of the “better” classes would only extend two fingers if compelled to shake the hand of one of their lessers).

These people want to constantly boss about the underclass as if they were still servants. The last thing they want is the underclass to have agency, to think for themselves.

And so the woke and the wonderful, the great and the good led a Twitter tar and feather brigade accusing Goward of practising eugenics (very much a tool of “progressives” such as George Bernard Shaw back in its hey-day, remember) and similar offences.

The truth is that many of these people, like their Bloombury and Fabian forebears, don’t really like the poor much at all. Unlike Goward, they’d prefer that the underclass knows its place and stays out of their way.

Goward quoted Orwell. Orwell nailed the nature of the people most upset by her column way back in 1937 in The Road to Wigan Pier:

One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.

He also described their true view of the underclass perfectly in the same work:

A middle-class person embraces Socialism and perhaps even joins the Communist Party. How much real difference does it make? Obviously, living within the framework of capitalist society, he has got to go on earning his living, and one cannot blame him if he clings to his bourgeois economic status. But is there any change in his tastes, his habits, his manners, his imaginative background–his ‘ideology’, in Communist jargon? Is there any change in him except that he now votes Labour, or, when possible, Communist at the elections? It is noticeable that he still habitually associates with his own class; he is vastly more at home with a member of his own class, who thinks him a dangerous Bolshie, than with a member of the working class who supposedly agrees with him; his tastes in food, wine, clothes, books, pictures, music, ballet, are still recognizably bourgeois tastes; most significant of all, he invariably marries into his own class.

Look at any bourgeois Socialist. Look at Comrade X, member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and author of Marxism for Infants. Comrade X, it so happens, is an old Etonian. He would be ready to die on the barricades, in theory anyway, but you notice that he still leaves his bottom waistcoat button undone. He idealizes the proletariat, but it is remarkable how little his habits resemble theirs.

Perhaps once, out of sheer bravado, he has smoked a cigar with the band on, but it would be almost physically impossible for him to put pieces of cheese into his mouth on the point of his knife, or to sit indoors with his cap on, or even to drink his tea out of the saucer. I have known numbers of bourgeois Socialists, I have listened by the hour to their tirades against their own class, and yet never, not even once, have I met one who had picked up proletarian table-manners. Yet, after all, why not? Why should a man who thinks all virtue resides in the proletariat still take such pains to drink his soup silently? It can only be because in his heart he feels that proletarian manners are disgusting. So you see he is still responding to the training of his childhood, when he was taught to hate, fear, and despise the working class.

Give me Goward’s view any day.

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